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How Chinese firms learn technology from transnational corporations: A comparison of the telecommunication and automobile industries

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  • He, Xiyou
  • Mu, Qing

Abstract

China has been utilizing foreign direct investment (FDI) based on the strategy of “trading market access for technology” since 1978. However, there are differences in opinion regarding the performance of China's strategy. This paper examines the growth of technological capability of Chinese indigenous firms under a revised model of technological learning and catch-up based on research by Kim (1997) and Lee and Lim (2001). The paper investigates the process of industrial growth in China by developing the two cases of the telecommunication equipment industry and the automobile industry, and analyzes the aforementioned strategy from the viewpoint of technological learning and industrial catch-up. This study finds that knowledge was gained by leveraging China's huge market to “trade market access for technology”, and that indigenous firms must enhance the intensity of their efforts to assimilate acquired technologies so as to improve their technological capabilities. Through comparison of the two industries, we find that industrial policy regulating private firms’ market access directly affects the performance of the industrial catch-up.

Suggested Citation

  • He, Xiyou & Mu, Qing, 2012. "How Chinese firms learn technology from transnational corporations: A comparison of the telecommunication and automobile industries," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 270-287.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:asieco:v:23:y:2012:i:3:p:270-287
    DOI: 10.1016/j.asieco.2011.10.004
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Rai, Varun & Funkhouser, Erik, 2015. "Emerging insights on the dynamic drivers of international low-carbon technology transfer," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 350-364.
    2. Ulas Emiroglu, 2015. "Catch-up with Generative State: Lessons from Chinese Telecom Equipment Industry," STPS Working Papers 1503, STPS - Science and Technology Policy Studies Center, Middle East Technical University, revised Dec 2015.
    3. Hübler, Michael, 2015. "Labor mobility and technology diffusion: A new concept and its application to rural Southeast Asia," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 137-151.

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